SYL canal row will become national problem, militancy may return if verdict against Punjab, warns CM

He pointed out that all extremist movements in the state, including the Khalistani and Naxalite movements, had started from southern Punjab, which would be the worst affected by the construction of the canal.
Farmers of Jhansla village in Patiala district levelling the SYL canal with the help of earthmoving machines in March 2016, after the Punjab assembly passed a bill providing for transfer of proprietary rights to the original owners.(HT File Photo)
Farmers of Jhansla village in Patiala district levelling the SYL canal with the help of earthmoving machines in March 2016, after the Punjab assembly passed a bill providing for transfer of proprietary rights to the original owners.(HT File Photo)
Updated on Jun 05, 2017 10:25 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, Chandigarh | By, Chandigarh

“Amarinder may remain or not, but SYL (Sutlej-Yamuna Link canal) will become a national problem if the final judgement goes against Punjab,” chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh warned on Monday, asserting that “any move to deprive the people of the state of their water rights could lead to the revival of militancy in the region”.

According to a press release his office, the CM was speaking at the launch of a news channel where he said that he had requested the Union home minister to start negotiations on the SYL issue — a decades-long dispute over division of river water between Punjab and Haryana — through the water resources department “in the interest of Punjab’s and India’s peace and stability”.

He pointed out that all extremist movements in the state, including the Khalistani and Naxalite movements, had started from southern Punjab, which would be the worst affected by the construction of the canal.

Blaming the Akalis squarely for plunging the state into “this catastrophic situation”, the CM said they had been responsible for depriving Punjab of its natural resources, which were diverted to Himachal Pradesh and Haryana as a result of the state’s division. “Haryana got more water despite having less land, while Punjab did not get any share of water from the river Yamuna,” he pointed out, adding that the “root of the problem can be traced to the state’s partition and the lopsided allocation of its resources at that time”.

“Punjab has no water to nourish and irrigate its own land, leave alone share with other states,” said the CM, adding that “with less than 25% irrigation through surface water, agriculture in the state has become unviable”.

Promising to make farming remunerative again for the state’s farmers, he said his government is working on several initiatives to facilitate diversification and bring in “a new Green Revolution, not just with wheat and paddy but with other crops”.

Captain Amarinder recalled the ‘farm to fork’ project, which he had launched with corporate giant Reliance during his earlier chief ministerial tenure, and said his government was reviving the same to alleviate the sufferings of Punjab’s beleaguered debt-ridden farmers.

He reiterated his commitment to bring the farmers of the state out of “the abyss into which they were plunged in the last 10 years of the SAD-BJP mismanagement and misrule”.

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